Ivanka Trump and her family were reportedly “accosted” by “an out-of-control passenger” aboard a JetBlue flight as it prepared to depart Kennedy Airport for San Francisco on Thursday morning.
A story on the TMZ celebrity entertainment website said a passenger screamed at the daughter of President-elect Donald Trump, “Your father is ruining the country,” as the flight prepared for departure — and said the “unruly passenger” was escorted from the flight by JetBlue personnel. A photo posted with the online story shows Ivanka Trump seated in the main cabin on the JetBlue flight, looking on as personnel deal with the situation. The passenger is not visible.
Asked about an incident involving Ivanka Trump on one of its planes, JetBlue spokeswoman Tamara Young issued a statement saying: “The decision to remove a customer from a flight is not taken lightly. If the crew determines that a customer is causing conflict on the aircraft, the customer will be asked to deplane, especially if the crew feels the situation runs the risk of escalation during flight. In this instance, our team worked to reaccommodate the party on the next available flight.”
The Port Authority, whose police are responsible for law enforcement at metro area airports, also issued a statement saying Port Authority police made no arrests.
An airport official who asked not to be identified acknowledged Ivanka Trump was aboard the flight.
In its website report, TMZ said: “The guy went on, ‘Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private” — and said the man “had his kid in his arms as he went on the tirade.”
TMZ reported that Ivanka Trump, who was flying with daughter, Arabella, and sons, Joseph and Theodore, “ignored the guy” and said she attempted to distract her children, the oldest of whom is 5, “with crayons.”
The TMZ story said the unruly passenger, who has not been publicly identified, screamed as he was removed from the flight: “You’re kicking me off for expressing my opinion?”
A man who identified himself as Matthew Lasner tweeted about the incident, but later took the tweets down.
Lasner said in the since-removed tweets that Ivanka Trump and her family were on his flight out of Terminal 5 at Kennedy Airport.
Lasner said his husband “expressed displeasure in a calm tone,” but then JetBlue staff overheard and kicked the pair off the plane, according to the tweet. In an earlier tweet, however, Lasner had said his husband chased them down “to harass them.”
An associate professor named Matthew Lasner is listed, with the same Twitter handle, on a faculty page for the Urban Policy and Planning department at Hunter College. A representative for Hunter College did not respond to a request for comment. The Twitter account has been deleted.
Trump transition team representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
With Emily Ngo, Lauren Cook and Alison Fox
CORRECTION: Ivanka Trump’s flight was headed to San Francisco. The destination was incorrect in earlier versions of this story.